The Cuban crocodile has the smallest known distribution of any extant crocodilian, only found in the wild in the Zapata Swamp (mainland Cuba) and the Lanier Swamp (Isla de la Juventud).
They will eat fish, crustaceans, gastropods, small reptiles, birds and mammals including feral pigs and dogs.
The crocodile is quite an aggressive species. They can also jump and are quite fast on land.
Both females and males become reproductively active at about 1.5m long and bodyweights of about 15 kg in captivity.
This species constructs a mound, usually made of peat in the wild, for laying eggs. In captivity, females will scrape on the ground surface, piling together soil and leaves and twigs, to make a mound up to 1m high and 2.7m in diameter. Hatching takes place in August and early September.
There is thought to be only around 3000-6000 individuals. Threats are habitat loss due to agriculture, competition with the American crocodile, hybridisation diluting the species, and being hunted for their skin. Only 4 zoos in the UK have Cuban crocodiles. Paignton Zoo is the studbook holder for this species.
- Latin Name: Crocodylus rhombifer
- Class: Reptiles
- Order: Crocodylia
- Family: Crocodylidae
- Conservation status: Critically Endangered
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